Nowadays, people use computers and digital devices a lot, more than they did in the past. While some of them spend their time on these electronic gadgets for entertaining purpose, most of us have jobs that require to use computer for hours everyday. Nearly 70% of American adults have digital eye strain due to spending long periods of time on the computer. Meanwhile, on a global scale, more than 70 million workers are facing the risk of having a Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).
+ Why I have CVS?
If you have heard about carpal tunnel condition, computer vision syndrome happens almost in a similar way. Carpal tunnel is a syndrome that causes pain and numbness in your hand due to pressure on the nerve in the wrist. In the case of CVS, constant pressure on the eye nerves from repetitive motion cause strain on the eyes.
You have a digital eye strain because it is a result from prolonged on-screen time. The more time you use, the more you feel discomfort. Using a computer requires intense concentration on and off sometimes. Besides, your eyes may need to move up and down constantly between papers and the screen, which makes your eyes have to adjust all the time to see things clear.
Repetitive motions and constant shifting focus of the eye can exhaust the eye muscles. Additionally, computer screens usually have contrast, flicker, and glare which add fuel to the fire. And usually the last straw that broke the camel’s back is blinking less while using a computer. This eventually dry out your eye and make your vision blur when you overuse it.
The occurrence of CVS is higher in people who already have some kind of eye problems, especially those who have short-sightedness, long-sightedness, astigmatism, and etc. People who have digital eye strain will experience difficulty when they get older as their eyes’ flexibility is reduced. Especially, when they are around 40, they started to lose the ability to focus on near and far objects, i mean Presbyopia.
+ What are Symptoms?
Luckily, Computer Vision Eye Strain so far does not cause any serious damage to the eye in the long run. However, it may cause discomfort to certain levels and affect work productivity. The most obvious symptoms of computer vision syndrome is eye strain, of course. Besides, these several signs below will tell you are having a condition:
Blurred vision: poor lighting and glare on the computer screen can make everything can make your vision blurred sometimes if you are having an eye strain
Double vision: your eye will experience a double vision after a long use of computer screen. This can cause some discomfort and lead to headache.
Dry, red eyes: sometimes CVS can develop and give you more than one eye condition such as red or dry eyes.
Eye irritation: you may feel something is stinging or burning your eyes slightly. This can vary from mild to severe depending how bad your condition is.
Headache: this symptom occurs commonly in CVS when your eye muscles become fatigued
Neck or back pain: as you need to constantly adjust your body posture to comfort your eyes from the strain, it might cause some pain in your neck or on your back.
If you are having an eye strain, you will have at least one of these signs above. The severity of the symptoms depends on the time you use a computer and some of other factors such as uncorrected vision problems, low quality light condition, the aging process or incorrect sitting posture. Although eye strain does not leave you any complications, if you don’t do anything about it, it might affect your work and daily life.
+ How to diagnose?
Computer vision syndrome can be diagnosed by a combination of comprehensive eye tests. They might include some overall check such as:
Medical history: doctors need to know whether the syndrome comes from any past medication taken and if the patient has already experienced any eye related problems before.
General check: an overall medical check-up to find out is there any current health problems and identify environmental factors that might cause the symptoms.
Visual acuity assessment: this process is to measure and find out which extend your vision is affected by the computer vision syndrome.
They might also figure out whether you need any lenses to compensate for refractive errors if you have uncorrected vision problems (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism)
Eye movement testing: the purpose of this test is to understand what causes problems that make your eyes difficult to change focus.
A healthy eye has the ability to change focus effectively and move smoothly without any difficulty. Both of your eye should work in unison to give you a clear image of what you are looking at. Not like other testings, eye drops in this case might not be needed as the doctor wants to know how your eyes work in a normal condition first. However, testing relates to focusing ability might require using drops. These eye drops help to keep your eyes still while the specialist is testing.
Finally, findings from these examinations will help an optometrist determine if you have Computer Vision Syndrome and offer proper care.
+ How to prevent?
Luckily, There is a variety of treatments for computer vision syndrome out there. As the syndrome is usually associated with prolonged use of computers, so if you manage your time properly, the syndrome can be reduced significantly.
Another alternative is to adjust the way you view a computer screen. In some cases, the condition automatically goes away after the patient stops using a computer. Here are some of the common treatments for digital eye strain:
Remove the glare: avoid glare while using a computer screen by reducing the light around. Try not to sit near the window so your screen can catch glare.
Arrange your working desk: make sure the monitor is below your eye level and stay at a distance between 20 to 28 inches.
Practice 20-20-20 rules: give your eyes a break by practicing this 20-20-20 rules. Look away every 20 minutes on something at 20 feet in 20 seconds.
Adjust the monitor settings: find out the best setting for your eyes to make you feel most comfortable to work.
Using E-ink computer screen: instead of LCD screen that often lead to eye strain, using monitor screen such as DASUNG's 3rd Generation E-ink Monitor-Paperlike can help the issue. You can work all day long without eye pain or headache.
Computer Vision Syndrome can be considered as a serious eye disease because it can affect your vision and reduce your working effectiveness, especially computer-related works. In most cases, you need to fix it with our above recommended guides. The syndrome will be alleviated and your vision will get back to normal in the end.